Despite support for Judge Virginia A. Phillips’ calling for the military to “suspend and discontinue” enforcement of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, the White House has chosen to not publicly endorse the ruling. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs indicated on Wednesday that the President hoped the ruling would instead prove to be a catalyst for congressional action, and implicitly acknowledged that the Justice Department may appeal the decision.
However, critics of DADT are now calling for the President to allow the decision to stand in an effort to simply let the policy die. Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) led 19 other Senators this week in urging Attorney General Holder to “examine whether any appeal furthers a legitimate governmental interest . . . [w]e would say any appeal does not.” Aaron Belkin, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in a recently published opinion piece in the New York Times’ “Room for Debate” blog, described the legal arguments supporting non-appeal. However, from a more practical standpoint, in a time when Congress has proved unable to pass even the most modest of legislative actions, and on the eve of an election which will likely make DADT repeal all the more unlikely, perhaps the President should take action. Ironically enough, in this case, such action would come in the form of inaction.
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